Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a diagnosable psychological and physiological reaction, often lasting for years, to an event causing extreme stress. Mollie Brown ("From Victim to Survivor: The Treatment of Adults who have been Sexually Abused as Children") lists the following criteria for the disorder:

1. The person has experienced an event that is outside the range of usual human experience and that would be markedly distressing to almost anyone.

2. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in at least one of the following ways: a) recurrent and intrusive recollections of the event; b) recurrent distressing dreams of the event; c) sudden acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring...; d) intense psychological distress at exposure to events that symbolise or represent an aspect of the traumatic event, including anniversaries of the trauma.

3. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma or numbing of general indicated by the following: a) efforts to avoid thoughts or feelings of the trauma; b) efforts to avoid activities or situations that arouse recollections of the trauma; c) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma....; d) markedly diminished interest in significant activities....; e) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others; f) restricted sense of affect; g) sense of foreshortened future...

4. Persistent symptoms of increased indicated by at least two of the following: a) difficulty in falling asleep; b) irritability or outbursts of anger; c) difficulty concentrating; d) hyper-vigilance; e) exaggerated startle response; f) physiologic reactivity upon exposure to events which symbolise or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.

(Quoted from "When Ministers Sin", Ormerod, Neil and Thea. p.13)

If you feel you fit these criteria, or a significant number of them, I recommend you access some of the PTSD links listed on the links page for more information.

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